Teacraft: A Treasury of Romance, Rituals & Recipes by Charles and Violet Schaffer (San Francisco: Yerba Buena Press, 1975)
Our authors offer us the reminiscence of a character dubbed “Our Man” about the time some thirty years ago [1940s] at a boarding house, The Pink House on Waverly Place in Kowloon.
“Afternoon tea was more to my taste. The elegant service and leisurely civility on the veranda in fine weather and in the livingroom when weather was bad agreed with me.
“To this ritual I unwittingly contributed an American revolution. Following a lifetime of profligacy, I innocently spread my bread with both butter and jam. At first my fellow lodgers looked askance. They spread one or the other on their bread, never both!
“Soon they were imitating my extravagance, first to see whether they liked it and then to enjoy the extravagance at dinner.
“Mrs Mather [the keeper of the boarding house] was utterly dismayed by this ruinous turn of events. It threatened to throw her budget off balance, she protested, and it probably did.
I am reminded of the story told by Jane Rule about the ham and the pan.
There is a story about a young woman who always cut a generous slice off a ham before cooking it. When asked why she did it, she said, “My mother always did it.” Piqued for a better reason, she asked her mother why she had done it. “My mother always did it.” The grandmother, fortunately still alive, was finally able to explain, “I never had a pan big enough.”
And so for day 1530